GREAT Britain made a thrilling start to their London Handball Cup campaign, beating African Champions Angola 22-20 in their first match at the Olympic Handball Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
With Sports Minister Hugh Robertson in attendance, GB dug deep and had to battle back from three goals down to take the points.
Warrington’s Holly Lam-Moores and Kathryn Fudge from Bury teamed up as joint top scorers with four goals each, and it was Fudge who scored the first goal after just a few seconds of the match which helped GB open up a three-nil lead just three minutes in and leave the Angolans on the back foot.
The Africans battled back to 11-11 at half time and led by the odd goal at various times during the second half, but Great Britain kept their cool and chipped away at the lead.
Leading by one goal, a GB timeout helped the clock tick down, and a penalty in the final 30 seconds from Britt Goodwin sparked celebrations in the 1,000-plus crowd as Great Britain were finally assured of victory.
After the win, a delighted coach Jesper Holmris said: “It was a great performance in a great arena, so it’s been a good day for us. Home advantage is always a big advantage.
“It’s the first time we played an African nation and they are African champions, so it was good for us to see we can compete against them – and there are still nine months to go before the Olympic games.”
In other action on Wednesday, China scraped past Slovakia 26-28.
The competition continues on Thursday with China playing Poland at 10.30am, while Angola take on Austria at 1pm.
Great Britain’s next match is on Friday at 10.30am when they play Austria.
PHOTO: MICHELE DAVISON